Wednesday, July 28, 2010


Directed by Roland Emmerich.
2009. Rated PG-13, 158 minutes.
John Cusack
Amanda Peet
Chiwetel Ejiofor
Thandie Newton
Oliver Platt
Danny Glover
Woody Harrelson
Liam James
Morgan Lily
Zlatko Buric

Plot: A geologist discovers an increase in solar activity that will lead to the end of the world as we know it, socio-political Darwinism ensues. Oh, and dying – lots of dying.

The Good: Forget about Avatar, this might be the most beautiful movie of 2009. The end of the world is a truly spectacular sight. There are skyscrapers crashing into one another as they fall, multi-tier freeways collapsing, entire cities and their suburbs coming apart at the seams as the earth separates beneath them. Likewise for areas surrounding suddenly activated, fireball hurling volcanoes. And if you’re anywhere near any coast, or out to sea, you have to contend with super tsunamis. For the most part, it looks eerily realistic. Since another depiction of hell breaking loose is never more than a few minutes away, it’s lengthy runtime doesn’t feel so bad.

The Bad: This might also be the most disgusting, pointless and stupidest movie of the 2009. It’s disgusting in the sense that it is purely pornographic in regards to death. We literally watch people die by the thousands for two plus hours and are certain that the death toll is in the billions. The problem is we become so desensitized it’s hard to muster up any empathy for our main characters no matter what their situation. Of course, this is why there are kids in the movie. Filmmakers believe we automatically feel for the kids in tough situations. To a degree, they’re correct. However, here it’s not enough. Here, we feel like that one guy in other disaster movies that can only say to everyone “We’re all gonna die!” Besides that, none of the characters in this movie are worthy of our affection, anyway. It’s pointless because of three things. First, everything just kinda stops all of a sudden. Sorry, I don’t think that’s really a spoiler. Second, when the credits roll, we’re left with an overwhelming feeling of “Now what?” There’s no hopeful answer to that question even though the movie wants us to somehow remain optimistic. Third, much lip service, including the movie’s own advertising, is paid to the ancient Mayan prophecy of the world ending on December 21, 2012. However, the movie chucks that out the window and renders the Mayan notion coincidental, at best. Finally, it’s stupid for a variety of reasons. Most of them we’ve already seen play out in other disaster movies so I won’t go into it, here.

The Ugly: : How many government and military officials had to be left behind for Oliver Platt’s character to become acting President? He’s a head scientist of some department or another.

Recommendation: Armageddon, The Day After Tomorrow, Deep Impact, Independence Day, etc. If you liked these movies, this is for you. If you’re into big special fx, this is for you, too. As for the rest of you, move along nothing to see here.

The Opposite View: Dan Kois, Washington Post

What the Internet Says: 6.0/10 on (7/27/10), 39% on, 49/100 on

MY SCORE: 3.5/10

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